,Energy and Utilities ,Environment

USGS: Utica Shale contains abundant natural gas, oil

By - Last modified: October 9, 2012 at 9:18 AM
Source: U.S. Geological Survey
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

The U.S. Geological Survey has released its first estimate of the amount of natural gas and oil recoverable from the Utica Shale.

The formation contains about 38 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas, 940 million barrels of oil and 208 million barrels of natural-gas liquids, the agency said Friday.

By comparison, the Marcellus Shale has 84 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the USGS' most recent estimate. It remains the largest shale-gas basin the agency has surveyed.

Such estimates are speculative and can be revised as new information becomes available. A decade ago, the USGS calculated the Marcellus contained just 2 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas.

Early drilling in the Utica has been "very encouraging," though it would be premature to draw firm conclusions, the consulting firm IHS said in a report last Wednesday.

The Utica lies deeper than the Marcellus Shale and its footprint is similar. Both formations cover wide swaths of New York, Ohio, northern and western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.